Monza DTM: Van der Linde leads Audi 1-2 in Sunday race

Factory Audi driver Audi Kelvin van der Linde cruised to a lights-to-flag victory in the second race of the 2021 DTM season at Monza, leading Nico Muller in a 1-2 for the Munich-based manufacturer.

At the start of the race, Saturday winner Liam Lawson made a better getaway from the outside of the front row but ran too deep over the kerbs at the exit of Turn 1, allowing polesitter van der Linde to escape up front in the Team Abt Sportsline Audi.

A thrilling scrap for second followed on lap 2 between Red Bull protege Lawson, who had cleared Sheldon van der Linde's BMW on the opening tour.

Muller initially passed Lawson's Red Bull-branded Ferrari going into the first chicane but a poor exit brought the AF Corse driver back into play, the two going side by side through Curve Grande.

Lawson had the inside line going into the second chicane but Muller didn't give up, running over the kerbs to emerge out of the corner alongside the Kiwi.

However, all of this brought van der Linde into the picture, the Rowe Racing driver passing both of them in one bold move going into the first Lesmo to take second.

From there on, Lawson's 55kg weight penalty - a combination of BoP changes and his victory on Saturday - became evident and he lost the final spot on the podium to Muller before falling into the clutches of T3 Motorsport's Esteban Muth.

Eager not to concede the position, Lawson defended his line at the second chicane, only for the slightest of contact between the pair to spin him around and leave him facing the wrong direction.

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Meanwhile, the action happening for positions second-to-fourth allowed Kelvin van der Linde to extend his advantage out front, the Audi ace pulling away by five seconds by end of lap 7.

A late pitstop brought the gap down to four seconds but the Nurburgring 24 Hours winner was never challenged at the front, eventually crossing the line with 3.3s in hand to take a maiden DTM victory on his 25th birthday.

It was last year's runner-up Muller who finished second in the Team Rosberg Audi, having got the jump on Sheldon van der Linde's BMW with an undercut.

Lucas Auer's decision to stop as soon as the pitlane opened at the end of lap 5 also paid dividends, the Winward Mercedes driver taking the final spot on the podium having started seventh.

The younger of the van der Linde brothers lost places to both Muller and Auer in the pits with a relatively late stop on lap 9, but was able to fend off the Walkenhorst BMW of two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann in the closing stages to salvage fourth.

After qualifying 12th on the grid, Red Bull's Alex Albon was able to move up the order in AF Corse-run Ferrari, finishing just 0.5s behind Philip Ellis' Winward Mercedes in seventh.

2013 champion Mike Rockenfeller was involved in a long duel with Muth's Lamborghini after having scythed his way from 17th on the grid, taking to the kerbs at the second Lesmo to finally complete the move.

The top 10 was completed by HRT driver Maximilian Gotz - who finished on the podium in Race 1 - ahead of Mercedes compatriots Vincent Abril, Daniel Juncadella and Maximilian Buhk.

Lawson rejoined the field last following his coming-together with Muth on lap 3 and could only recover to 14th at the flag, 32s behind race winner van der Linde.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo  
2 51 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 3.355
3 22 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 11.192
4 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 14.084
5 11 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 14.725
6 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 19.727
7 23 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 20.306
8 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 25.884
9 10 Belgium Esteban Muth Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 27.374
10 4 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 28.147
11 5 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 29.088
12 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 29.927
13 18 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 30.612
14 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 32.766
15 12 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 38.606
16 99 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 39.301
17 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 41.214
  16 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 9 Laps
  36 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 13 Laps
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